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Transfer colleges and credits

Key tips for a successful transfer.

Thinking about transferring?

Students transfer colleges for many reasons, from financial challenges to a change in major, to online course availability. The most common type of transfer is a student transferring from a community college to a four-year university. Before you make the switch, research transfer credit policies and talk with an academic advisor. 

What is a transfer student?

The most common types include the following: 

Community college transfer: Many students transfer from a community college to a four-year university. You may begin your college careers at a community college to save money, get general education credits, or make more informed decisions about potential majors.  

Four-year university transfer: Many students transfer from one four-year school to another. Common reasons may include financial burdens, a desire to switch majors, and wanting a better fit with the school.  

Nontraditional transfer: Leaving school can be a difficult decision, but sometimes emergencies, financial concerns, or job opportunities mean you must step away from your education temporarily. Fortunately, you can return to college any time, though you may need to reapply for admission if going back to the same school you originally attended.  Check your school’s student leave policy to learn more. *Be sure to see whether your school will accept the college credits you previously earned.   

Will my credits transfer?

Transfer policies 

Each school has a different transfer policy. Credits may or may not transfer and/or apply to your degree plan. Sometimes a course you take at one school will transfer to another school but may not count as credit toward your degree. Thankfully, transferring courses is easier in Texas than many other states. Texas has a Core Curriculum and Common Course Numbering System. This means similar freshman and sophomore level courses that are taught at different state schools are identified by common numbers. If you're planning to transfer, these are often the best courses to take.  

Transfer agreements 

Your college may have a special transfer agreement with another school for other courses to transfer. Be sure to meet with an advisor, who can help you sort out the information and help you make the right choices. 

How to apply as a transfer 

Applying as a transfer student is like applying as a freshman applicant; however, there are some key differences. The first step is to make sure that you meet the school’s transfer criteria.  

Some colleges have a minimum number of credit hours or minimum GPA you have to meet for admission. Check the school’s website for requirements.  

Then, you'll apply through a platform like ApplyTexas, Common App, or directly on the college website. As a transfer applicant, you’ll need to send any college transcripts, and possibly high school transcripts and SAT or ACT scores. Many colleges will also ask for a writing sample like a college essay or personal statement.  

Some colleges accept transfer students throughout the year, but others may only accept transfer students once per year (fall or spring semester). Research the application deadlines for any colleges that you are interested in.  

What is reverse transfer?

If you transfer from a two-year college to a university after you have earned 30 or more credit hours, but before you finish an associate degree, many two-year colleges will transfer courses completed at the university back into your program and award an associate degree.  

With this win-win arrangement you can earn one college degree while continuing to work on your bachelor’s degree.  

Applying to schools

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Academic Fresh Start

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